Arts & Faith: Lent—Fifth Sunday Imaginative Prayer Exercise

Arts & Faith: Lent logoEach week of Lent, we’ll provide an Ignatian prayer for you, inspired by a video from Arts & Faith: Lent.

The video and prayer for the Fifth Week of Lent, Cycle C, are based on John 8:1–11. The art is Palma il Vecchio’s Christ and the Adulteress.

Preparation

Prepare for a period of meditation by sitting comfortably, closing your eyes, and breathing deeply for a moment or two. Allow any present concerns to move across your mind and wait off to the side for now.

The Room

Imagine yourself in a room. It’s an uncomfortable room—stuffy, too warm, and stale-smelling. It’s also quite dim. You try not to breathe but have no choice, and as you take another breath, you realize that this room smells very old, as if the air in here has been the same air for decades.

Then the room grows a bit lighter, and for the first time you can see your surroundings. At first you’re confused, because what you see are photos. Then you realize that they are all photos of you. Every photo depicts a moment in your life. And with some horror you see that every moment depicts you when you were not at your best. One photo shows you scowling because you’re angry; another shows you shouting at a person you care about. Yet another image reveals your dishonesty or your jealousy or your self-centeredness.

You feel suffocated by this room because it is filled with your ugly history. You cannot simply throw away or ignore these images because you know they are true. You really want to leave this room, seal the entrance, and never go inside it again.

But then you feel a presence next to you and look to find Jesus in the room with you. In shame, you look away from him, but he shifts positions so that he is right in front of you and you cannot avoid his gaze. “Stay with me,” he says. “Look only at me.”

So you focus your own gaze on Jesus’ face. There you see his love for you, his hopes for your future, and his forgiveness of all the bad moments. In Jesus’ eyes you see a reflection of yourself, and you are surprised to notice how beautiful that image is.

Then Jesus takes your hand and leads you toward the door. “All of this,” he says, motioning to the room and its contents, “is past. It’s forgiven. It does not matter now. You had to see it so that you could leave it. Come with me now. Step into your next, new moment.”

You understand then that the next new moment will be followed by new moments, one after another, forever.

Concluding Prayer

Glory be to the Father,

and to the Son,

and to the Holy Spirit.

As it was in the beginning,

is now, and ever shall be,

world without end.

Amen.

If you’re receiving this via e-mail, click through to watch the video Arts & Faith: Fifth Sunday of Lent.

10 COMMENTS

  1. Thank you for this Vinita…

    Immediately, as I read these lines of yours, deep within my inner thoughts i hear His words, saying; “I have called you before, again, I call you now. Come and be partakers of my Word. Follow Me, I am He, your Master and Lord.”

    A month ago, I was thinking a lot of negative thoughts, I was kind of losing faith in myself, sick and won’t be long in the world thinking of all the covid cases, my health, our finacial crisis, those who have died, the case of the new normal that seemed to have no end, and the many who are still struggling to breath in different isolations and hospitals. I seemed to feel their pain and longed for the touch of Jesus. Hunger for His Word, I went to confession admitting my careless thoughts, and of being separated from realutues. Today, this excercises gives me a lot of insights to a better life, to serve and follow Jesus.

    This is very good guide for my meditation starting tomorrow…

    God bless you, my friend Vinita.

  2. Thank you for you beautiful words and imagery. As I read I could feel, smell, and see my room. And then instead of asking to look at myself in the mirror, Jesus asked me to look at him… just him and I did see and feel the love. It brought me to quiet tears…the beautiful love…thank you for sharing your gift of the Examen. today I brought me one step closer to God.

  3. I found this exercise to be very helpful as I went for my Lenten Confession today. I printed the exercise and used it to prepare for the Sacrament of Reconciliation. But I found myself going back to it also AFTER I got the absolution. I heard Jesus telling me exactly what you wrote – “Come with me now. Step into your next, new moment.” Thank you, Vinita! This is a very powerful exercise. I highly recommend it. God bless you.

  4. Thank you for this beautiful reflection on forgiveness. And Jesus trusting ME to go on to doing better. It has now occurred to me that trust is a two-way street, and I was on a one way street. You’ve helped me to rescue myself, though you did’nt know it.

  5. Thank you Vinita. You have a wonderful way with words. Your meditation soothes and heals. God is with you and you generously let us perceive Him as you do. For me this is a blessing.

  6. You have spoken deeply to my heart in this Meditation and I will return to it again when I need to feel God’s love intensely. This zooms right to the heart of things for me . Thank you so much.

  7. Thank you for this. I really needed to hear it at this particular moment, to know that I am forgiven and can close the door on that room which contains so much I would rather not see or think about again.

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